AHW Endowment Awards SOWI for Inclusive Health Training

January 12, 2024 Featured, Press

AHW Seed Grants support community health, workforce development, and health-focused research

The Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin Endowment (AHW) announced it will fund 79 new projects in 2024, focused on improving health and advancing health equity in Wisconsin. Special Olympics Wisconsin was selected for an AHW Seed Grant of $50,000 to advance its Inclusive Health Training initiative.

“To improve access to quality health care for people with ID, this project will develop a comprehensive curriculum mode for MCW medical students in Green Bay and Milwaukee who are beginning their clinical rotations,” SOWI Senior Director of Health Programs Brittany Hoegh said. “This AHW grant will help them to begin their medical education journey with the foundational knowledge necessary to care for Inclusive Healthcare patients with ID.”

Individuals with ID have a higher incidence of health conditions and earlier onsets of chronic conditions, and on average, die 20 years earlier than the general population. One barrier to quality health care for ID patients is insufficient provider training, as 81% of medical students are not clinically trained in working with individuals with ID.

The curriculum is developed in part with input from SOWI athletes and their guardians regarding their healthcare experiences. Researchers hope that, ultimately, the project will help SOWI athletes, families, and ID community have the same access to health and wellness resource as others.

AHW’s Seed Grants support the pursuit of innovative strategies designed to lay the groundwork for longer-term efforts to address Wisconsin’s leading health challenges. The funding is for 12-month projects beginning in January 2024. Grant applications were peer reviewed before approval by the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) Consortium on Public and Community Health, the AHW Research and Education Advisory Committee, and the MCW Board of Trustees—AHW’s three oversight bodies.

Grant awards totaling $3,861,496 will fuel 25 community-led projects throughout the state and 13 projects shepherded by MCW post-doctoral researchers. Community-led projects receiving AHW funding represent 24 Wisconsin counties, with 10 projects impacting the entire state mostly focusing on underserved populations and led by individuals with minoritized or marginalized backgrounds.

“Our mission of maximizing the health of all Wisconsinites calls on us to develop strong working relationships with academic and community partners with the knowledge and ability to improve the lives throughout the state,” said AHW director Jesse Ehrenfeld, MD, MPH. “These 79 projects reflect an impressive range of experts pursuing innovative solutions to both long-standing and emergent health challenges in Wisconsin and beyond.”

For more information on projects funded by AHW, visit the funded projects page on the AHW website.

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